The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted a two-month extension to the CBI to complete its probe in an alleged bribery and extortion case involving the agency’s former special director Rakesh Asthana and others.
Observing that investigation cannot be delayed indefinitely and it should have been completed by now, Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the court will not give any more time to the CBI. The judge directed the CBI to ensure that the investigation finishes on time.
The order came on the CBI’s plea — filed a day after the agency’s four-month time expired on September 30 — seeking an extension to conclude the probe.
The court had on May 31 granted the CBI four months’ time to complete the probe into the case, which also involves DSP Devender Kumar, middleman Manoj Prasad and others. The agency was given 10 weeks’ time in January to finish the investigation.
Seeking three months for the agency to complete the probe, Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee said Letters Rogatory (LRs) have been sent to the US and UAE and the probe could not be completed as response is awaited. He said LRs were sent to the US and UAE last month and last week, respectively. LR is a formal request from a court to a foreign court seeking judicial assistance.
The agency’s request was opposed by the counsel for the accused, arguing that the LRs were sent only last month though the court had initially ordered in January to finish the probe in 10 weeks. The advocates argued that as per the CrPC and CBI Manual, the time period for any investigation to be concluded could not be extended beyond 90 days and one year, respectively.
The CBI also filed a status report in a sealed cover for consideration of the court.
The Indian Express on October 4 reported that Asthana is likely to be absolved of all charges of corruption levelled in an FIR filed by former CBI director Alok Verma.